Prayaas: Agro Marketing & Processing

An initiative to bring Grassroot changes in agriculture production marketing and processing

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Eligibility

  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Praharsh Patel

Initiative's representative date of birth

August 1, 1995

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Where are you making a difference?

India

Website or social media url(s)

https://imrc.co.in/prayaas

When was your organisation founded?

March/2019

Focus areas

  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $10k - $50k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

We were working with farmers of the arid-region of Kutch that was facing continuous drought for 6 years and an extreme shortage of the water. The 1 million-plus population dependent on agriculture activities were forced to change their cropping pattern. This required the reorientation of the unskilled and semi-skilled farmers in adapting to new agriculture production of horticulture products such as datepalm, pomegranates, moringa, etc. The challenges don't stop here. They need to create a fresh solution in marketing these products that have limited demand. The farmers need to get skills that can help them selling this new product that has shorter shelflife and limited consumption in raw form. It needs to experiment with value addition.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Currently out of 10 tons of production of highly nutritious production, almost 7 to 8 tons is being lost before it reaches the final consumer. This happens when the farmers are putting huge efforts to produce the crops during drought years. It causes many financial debts for the farmers. This happens due to 2 reasons. 1) Lack of knowledge of how to store and transport the fruits 2) Limited consumption of the fruits and no value-addition.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

As part of the "Prayaas: Agromarketing and Processing" initiative, we are working to bridge the gap between the farmers' produce and consumers' needs. We are working to develop a co-operative business model where the farmers are trained to get better production and assurance of their products being bought by the cooperative society run by the professionals and innovators. The cooperative society not only sells high-quality goods but also generates value-added products (Like candies, pickles, syrups, fruit sugar, herbal medicines, etc. There are more than 35 products) from this surplus production that can not be immediately consumed. We piloted the project with the farmers of the Kutch region and could generate almost double income for the farmer as well as employment for the farmer kids in the cooperative where they can earn firsthand experience and employability in running an organization. This helps both ways, the farmers as well as the consumers by culminating the inefficiency associated with the concurrent multistage middlemen-stacked route. Farmers earn better money out of the same production. Due to lesser inefficiency, the consumers are getting good products cheaper.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

We are focusing to work at the bottom of the pyramid. Farmers are the highest risk-takers and they need only one thing to be motivated and that is the assurance about their product will fetch sustainable prices and will be sold. We are giving the associated farmers the guarantee that their entire production will be bought at sustainable prices, as well as the profit of the cooperative society, will be redistributed among these farmers again. We are here focusing on skilling the local community members themselves in running the organization that will deal with the purchase, grading, marketing, and redistributing the shares. the most unique term here will be the research and development of the value-added products that will penetrate market.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

We are bringing the not much-skilled farmers in adopting better agriculture practices and make them more skilled to earn better money out of the same piece of land. Whereas the literate and semi-skilled youth of the community shall be given exposure in running the organization. It is well known that if a person gets involved in any task, he/she shall learn the most out of it. the current problem is the literate youth is not employable enough as they lack experience and skills to get the work done.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Sustainable farming is often neglected as a futuristic skill but it has the potential to create a huge impact as more than 70 percent of rural population is getting the livelihood out of the sector. At the same time making the producers also the marketeers and processors of the unique goods has greater potential when we try to find solutions for the bottom of the pyramid. In an age where the machines are eating away the most of the monotonous work, skills that have innovation and substantial independent decision making shall be considered important.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Currently, the local fruit merchants are working in the process of marketing the date palms, pomegranates, etc. Here, they are working as exploiting monopolists and have many inefficiencies in the goods. We are proposing a solution that is community-based, equal and upskilling for the youth. This shall bring netter prospects of earning and livelihood for more than a million farmers of the region (Kutch).

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We started with a pilot in the month of May 2019 in order to win trust of the farmers. We worked with a date farmer as a pilot and worked with him on his fresh date farm to harvest, store, transport, grade, pack, and sell to retail market. We engaged with a farmer who was expecting 50,000 Rs out of cultivation. We got him 130,000 Rs. We sold it to local markets, transported to distant markets. We developed more than 35 recipes to increase the consumption and stored 30 percent of the product in different forms to provide delayed supply when the market is not having the product. We also provided employment to 20 odd youth of different skill levels. After the success of the pilot, today we have more than 70 farmers associated with us. We have product profiles of more than 120 products and a loyal consumer-base of 10,000+ people. The "Prayaas movement" is already being recognized by all.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

If provided with initial seed funding required to work for innovative value-added products from the horticulture produce, the model is self-sufficient to scale. We initially got funding of approximately 40,000 Rs which will be recovered within a year. To scale the solution, it requires more initial seed fund and with scaled production machinery and developed products, the return shall suffice in producing the high returns.

10. Team

Currently, the team has the following permanent roles, 1) Chief Executive officer 2) Innovation Officer (Research and Development of Value-added products) 3) Purchase and Farmer Relations 4) Accountant Parttime 1) Local Consumer Coordinators 2) Transport Coordinators and Logistics 3) Online Publicity and Content Development With a growing start-up, a dedicated team will need to manage the production floor. Publicity, order nad logistic management and consumer relationships

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